And while, on the one hand, your memory, if you allow it to acquire the bad habits against which I am now warning you, will be perpetually refreshing in your mind vivid pictures of past sorrows, wrongs, and annoyances: your imagination, at the same time, will continually present to you, under the most exaggerated forms, and in the most striking colours, every possible unpleasantness that is likely to occur in the future. You may thus create for yourself a life apart, quite distinct from the real one, depriving yourself by wilful self-injury of the power of enjoying whatever advantages, successes, and pleasures, your heavenly Father may think it safe for you to possess.
Happiness, as far as it can be obtained in the path of duty, is a duty in itself, and an important one: without that degree of happiness which most people may secure for themselves, independent of external circumstances, neither health, nor energy, nor cheerfulness can be forthcoming to help us through the task of our daily duties.
It is indeed true, that, under the most favourable circumstances, the thoughtful will never enjoy so much as others of that which is now generally understood by the word happiness. Anxieties must intrude upon them which others know nothing of: the necessary business of life, to be as well executed as they ought to execute it, must at times force down their thoughts to much that is painful for the present and anxious for the future. They cannot forget the past, as the light-hearted do, or life would bring them no improvement; but the same difficulties and dangers would be rushed into heedlessly to-morrow, that were experienced yesterday, and forgotten to-day; and not only past difficulties and dangers are remembered, but sorrows too: these they cannot, for they would not, forget.
In the contemplation of the future also, they must exercise their imagination as well as their reason, for the discovery of those evils and dangers which such foresight may enable them to guard against: all this kind of thoughtfulness is their wisdom as well as their instinct; which makes it more difficult for them than it is for others to fulfil the reverse side of the duty, and to “be careful for nothing."
To your strong mind, however, a difficulty will be a thing to be overcome, and you may, if you only will it, be prudent and sagacious, far-sighted and provident, without dwelling for a moment longer than such duties require on the unpleasantnesses, past, present, and future, of your lot in life.
Having thus seen in what respects your superiority of mind is likely to detract from your happiness, in the point of the colouring given by your thoughts to your life, let us, on the other hand, consider how this same superiority may be so directed as to make your thoughts contribute to your happiness, instead of detracting from it.